Last week, Pam Goodman, the candidate for Florida House District 89, a targeted seat for the Democrats, dropped out against Republicans Bill Hager. Honestly, Goodman’s withdrawal from this race isn’t a shock at all. While she says that the reason for her dropping out of the race was her husband’s health, she would eventually have to answer for the scandal that her and her husband were involved in during her time at The Limited, Inc. Once Labor Day arrived, her candidacy would have sunk like a brick in water.
After Goodman dropped out of the race, the Democrats replace her with former Florida House Speaker Tom Gustafson. Unlike Goodman, Gustafson does have a legislative record. He could easily take the position from day one and, hopefully, be effective. Now all we can do is wait and see what happens in this race. But again, in a district that the Democrats had a chance of competing in, they have figured out a way to mess it up.
This incident in House District 89 really does expose a problem that some local Democratic DECs and the state party have regarding candidate recruitment. Either, they don’t put their recruited candidates through a vetting process or they don’t have any quality candidates that can step up to the plate and be competitive.
The first time that I notice that the Democrats had a recruitment problem was in 1994. When Hugh Rodham was eventually selected as the Democratic candidate for the US Senate, the writing was on the wall that Connie Mack would easily win the election. When I was working with other Democrats at the time, they liked Rodham because “he was Hillary Clinton’s brother”. It seemed if that was the sole reason that anyone should support him. Of course, looking like a dead ringer for Pablo Escobar, especially only months after the notorious drug dealer was gunned down on a rooftop in Medellin, Columbia didn’t help either. While Mack was expected to win, Democrats really did think they had a chance with Rodham because of his “Clinton connection”. As a result, Connie Mack beat Rodham by the largest margin for a Republican over a Democrat statewide in Florida’s history (even to this day).